September 9, 1999 Geneva, NY – Do events around the world today indicate that we have not learned much from history? How do human-rights issues get resolved in conflict? Why do we still see whole ethnic groups under attack by others? Hobart and William Smith Colleges will sponsor a year-long series of speakers to discuss these issues of genocide. The discussion series, “Genocide in the 20th Century,” will feature six speakers over the course of the academic year, as well as faculty-student reading groups and special seminars. The public is invited to all presentations.
By bringing this issue to the forefront for campus contemplation, organizers hope to improve understanding of all life-annihilation processes inherent in our modern world and to help participants learn more about the circumstances under which life-destruction processes tend to focus on specific groups in events known to us as genocide.
The first speaker in the series will be Philip Gourevitch, author of Tales From Rwanda (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998), who will present his talk at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 30, in the Albright Auditorium on the HWS campus. Tales From Rwanda, described as a “major document about ethical choice and political responsibility,” offers readers a view of the struggle everywhere on the globe to establish legitimate and sustainable nation-states when bloody and compromised histories are shared.
Peter Balakian, author of Black Dog of Fate, will speak on campus on October 28. Cornell West, author and professor of religion and Afro-American studies at Harvard University, is scheduled to discuss “Restoring Hope: Beyond Humanity's Darkside” on February 2, 2000, and Herbert Hirsch, professor of political science at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of a number of books on this topic, will speak on February 21. Guests for the Spring Term are yet to be confirmed.
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